How to Deal With Negative People Who Can Be a Drain on Your Self Confidence

My talk on self confidence is by far the most requested of my presentations.  I did one last week and have another scheduled for next week.  It seems that lots of people are looking for ways to boost their self confidence.  Members of my career mentoring site will tell you that I offer three bits of advice when it comes to self confidence…

  • Choose optimism.  Believe that things will work out, then do the work necessary to make good things happen.
  • Hang around with positive people, jettison the negative people in your life.
  • Face your fears and act.

But, as this article points out, you can’t always avoid or rid yourself of all of the negative people.  Sometimes you just have to deal with them.

In general, I like the advice in this article.  However, I do take issue with the fourth piece of advice, “If only [name] had the experience/wisdom/work ethic that you did!”  To me, there are two problems here:

  • First, you’re validating a complaint about another person when you don’t have all of the information about the situation.
  • Second, you’re engaging in gossip — never a good thing.

I like the other advice in the article because it demonstrates that you’re listening and have some degree of empathy for the person who is complaining.  I really like the fifth piece of advice, “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you’re upset because…” Reflective listening is a great way to shut down negative conversations.  It shows the other person that you get what he or she is complaining about without validating it or engaging in gossip.

Take another look at the article and try out some of these tactics the next time you have to deal with a consistent whiner.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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